Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Thorn Of Meeting

     A long time ago I learned that I can't glory in the rose's blossom without also accepting the rose's thorns. The one is as essential to the wholeness of my life as the other. Here's a meditation about this truth.

                          THE THORN

     I don't try evading it anymore    the thorn's always been there    always will be    just when I think it's gone    that's when the fierce familiar point pierces my skin    I don't know why this keeps happening    maybe it's the sadistic amusement of a bored adolescent god    stick--moan    stick--moan    actually I think I extrude the thorn from somewhere inside    I realize it's as much a part of me as hunger    pain    death

    today like any other day I want to be happy    I was drop-kicked out of Paradise before I knew it and I long to go back    I want to joyride the only car on a six-lane superhighway    to gorge down seven-layer chocolate cake all the time but never get sick    to be adored by a sex goddess half my age who's forever blind to my feet of clay    in other words I still don't even understand what true happiness is

     so it seems I must be grateful for this inescapable thorn    must grit my teeth and moan "thank you!" each time I flinch at its bitter little puncturing    thank you thorn for once more pricking me awake    thank you for goading me once more from my obtuseness and egotism and complacency    without you thorn I'd follow my snout into the nearest gaudily camouflaged snake pit    thank you thorn for the sting of your Grace


       Our days are filled with fateful encounters. We meet someone or something just about every waking minute. Yet how awake are we to the depth of potential meaning in each?


     there's only meeting    meeting you    or meeting the self who refuses such meeting    meeting God or else the void of God's absence    meeting my life as new and unpredictable each moment    meeting my death in countless big and little rehearsals    like this rash on my right foot that's flared and faded over and over for a dozen years    I can't exist without relating to someone or something    and all relationship is meeting

    when I meet you it's always for the first time    neither of us are who we were yesterday    nor who we'll become tomorrow    there's that same familiar face and voice    those same unique quirks and gestures    yet beneath them    beyond them    always    lives an impenetrable mystery    who are you right now    this unrepeatable instant?    who am I?    who will we each become before the next first time we meet?

     you could say everything boils down to a crucial choice    I can risk all with radical openness    meeting the Unknown at the core of each authentic encounter    or I can pull in    wall out    shut down    I've done both and can tell you they define the difference between heaven and hell    how do I experience the essence of meeting?    naked    empty    exposed    vulnerable    I turn within    bow to the Sublime


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